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Viral Video Explains Why Protected Sleep Is Important for New Moms

The best thing you can give a new mom isn’t a new stroller or casserole. It’s 4-6 hours of uninterrupted shut-eye. Learn why protected sleep can really make all the difference.
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By Wyndi Kappes, Associate Editor
Published September 13, 2023
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Image: Stock-Asso | Shutterstock

The first few months with baby can really be encapsulated with three little “S” words. Sweet, Swift and Sleep-deprived. Studies show that 7 out of 10 parents lose an average of three hours of sleep every night in their baby’s first year. While that might not seem too bad, those three hours a night accumulate to a shocking 133 nights worth of sleep sacrificed before baby’s first birthday.

Losing that much sleep doesn’t just impact your beauty rest but can have real serious repercussions. Research shows sleep-deprived parents are more forgetful, more likely to develop depression and more likely to be involved in traffic accidents. And at no time is sleep deprivation quite at its all-time high like the first weeks after babys arrival.

One lactation specialist’s TikTok recently amassed over 50,000 views for suggesting the best thing that you can give Mom in those first few weeks is some precious shut-eye and not just a 30-minute nap, but the holy grail of “protected sleep.”

If you haven’t heard of protected sleep before you aren’t alone. “Protected sleep is a concept we use in the treatment of perinatal mood disorders. We consolidate 4-6 hours of sleep that’s uninterrupted for a parent that is struggling with mood after baby,” TikTokker and certified lactation consultant Victoria Facelli explains in her video.

She goes on to outline how this protected sleep is truly uninterrupted, we are talking ear plugs in, white noise on, the whole shebang. “Someone else is feeding them, someone else is caring for them and they know that baby is safe,” Facelli adds.

Parents and friends sounded off in the comments on just how game-changing protected sleep had been for them. “This was the only thing that helped me turn a corner. A friend/practitioner sat down with my husband and said, “your wife is dying, she has to sleep,” wrote one mom. “This would’ve helped so much,” added another.

While it might not sound easy or even possible protected sleep is indeed worth it. Facelli emphasizes that protected sleep is both a treatment and a diagnosis. If you can’t fall asleep during a protected sleep period or wake up feeling worse than before, it’s important to talk to someone. “If you have a friend that just had a baby, this is an awesome way to help. Just to be the person who helps them get that protected sleep and then ask them how it went,” [Facelli noted in follow up video.

It may not feel like it now, but eventually, both you and baby will begin to get enough rest. In the meantime, it doesn’t hurt to have a few tips and tricks up your sleeve. Learn some of the best sleep positions for baby and read up on pediatrician-recommended solutions for your biggest sleep problems.

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